October Newsletter

Late as usual, but hello to all my readers!

There’s been lots going on, and I hope to give you a taste of the textile-y bits at least.

At the start of the month I was up at Farfield Mill where I have an exhibition of my gloves. It is a lovely location with lots of textile history just outside the small town of Sedburgh. I have a light filled corner room that has space for half a dozen large frames and a display case. The pieces are the same as they were at the Bankfield Museum in Halifax.

Here it is:

And here’s what was left after the exhibition was put up: but much easier to carry out to the car than the large frames.

I’m giving a workshop on the 15th October and at the time of posting there are some places left. Contact the mill via the web site to book, or contact me. You will learn to knit Yorkshire Dales style gloves and start a pair of wool hand warmers like these below. The yarn is a really robust Blacker pure wool in a double knitting – I’ve really enjoyed knitting with it and it will be available to buy at the workshop as Farfield has a small quantity in some lovely colours.

After that, I went to California where I have family. My first textile-y visit was having lunch with June Hemmons Hiatt author of one of the most important books on knitting, The Principles of Knitting. If you don’t know it, do take a look as it contains everything that you could ever need to know about knitting.

This is the cover of the second edition:

PoK-II-Cover

June and I also took the opportunity to discuss knitting using a knitting belt which June now sells on her web site.

In the little town of Point Reyes Station I found a wonderful little yarn shop selling hand spun and hand dyed yarns and knitted and woven items. It is called Black Mountain Artisans. I bought a couple of skeins of hand dyed yarns for presents (really) and a book of patterns that use the local yarns, Knitting Woolscapes. 

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A Verb for Keeping Warm is one of my favourite places to visit on a California trip and while I was there Clara Parkes was presenting her new book about yarn stashes. This is a picture of the event – as you can tell, I am right at the back of quite a crowd.

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I thought I should include a few pictures from California – we went to some wonderful places and saw some wonderful things, the best of which was possibly the humpback whales about a mile from the beach we were on, jumping out of the water and blowing. However, the views from the Tilden Regional Park of San Francisco Bay were good too. I especially like the industrial landscapes around Oakland Harbour which you see from the SF Bay ferry, so I’ve included one of them too, including a surprise siting of Mahatma Ghandi striding purposefully on the harbour edge in San Francisco.

 

Since I’ve been back I’ve been busy with the Knitting & Crochet Guild collection, where I volunteer, getting the hand warmers finished, and planning some exciting new projects.

 

 

 

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September newsletter

 

Some news, some pictures and some plans ….

I finished the music themed gloves for my friend Nick apart from darning in the ends – which is quite a big apart from … but if I sit down with a good radio programme on it should only take about an hour so I need to get a grip and get on with it, mostly so that I can start the next pair.

Here they are with the ends not darned in:

Nick’s gloves, not quite finished, palms

 

Nick’s gloves, not quite finished, backs

I went on holiday to France and Spain, mainly in the Pyrenees, as usual, but we started with friends in the Corbieres region. I’d seen the name on wine bottles but never visited so it was lovely to be there.Here’s some pictures of a house in the small town of Fabrezan with the most lovely art nouveau decorations in ceramics:

We started and ended in Toulouse and also had a short stay in Albi at the end of the trip. Both were centres of the pastel industry in the Middle Ages, to the extent that the motorway connecting the two places is called the Autoroute de Pastel. Pastel was a blue dye, extracted from the same plant as woad, and was used before indigo became available from India. It’s interesting as the activity has been used to generate new businesses making cosmetics like Graine de Pastel. Another one in Albi is Terre de Pastel which has a shop right by the cathedral in Albi with rather lovely blue scarves and lots of other things. Vanessa France’s blog has more on the history of the pastel trade.

A further textile interest was found in Albi, not just in the clothes shops (several rather nice ones) but in the form of a producer of local textiles, Les Toiles de la Montagne Noire. These are locally produced cottons, plain, striped or checked and sold as yardage or made-up into household textiles including tea towels, tablecloths, aprons and so on. Naturally some had to be bought as presents – there’s a bit of a tradition building up in the family of giving tea towels, hardly original but useful. This production is similar to some of that found in Wales and Ireland where locally made textiles add to what’s on offer for both local and visitor markets. I would have bought the whole shop had I not had to carry it all back on the night train from Toulouse to Paris and then onto Eurostar and so home to Huddersfield.

Knitting wise I took socks with me as my partner had said that he would like some. He doesn’t often make requests so I thought that this was a Good Idea as a change from knitting gloves. I fully expected to finish the pair in a fortnight, long train journeys, easy evenings on the terrace etc. I’m just above the rib on them both so lots to do still.

 

News for July 2017

The month started with a visit to Estonia for the annual Craft Camp, my third time. I took workshops in knitting with Kristi Jõeste and Riina Tomberg, both of which were excellent. The other two workshops were indigo dyeing and Happsalu lace, again, both were excellent. The samples I produced are below and I hope you can tell which is which.


My own knitting which is ongoing is the gloves for Nick, almost complete. The other pair, for Jenny, are in the planning stage and I’m wondering whether to introduce some Baltic style patterns and techniques that I’ve seen and learnt in my visits to Latvia and Estonia this spring and summer.


These are actually almost complete, just the thumbs to knit, but I don’t have a more recent photo and I’m away from home in the very west of Wales. 

Farfield mill, outside Sedbergh, have invited me to show my gloves, planned for September and October. I went there on my birthday to discuss the arrangements accompanied by my partner and London grandsons. We stayed at Ingleton youth hostel and then visited Dent, home of the ‘terrible knitters’, and of Mary Allen, who was known to knit the patterned Dales gloves. Fewer than 20 pairs of these survive in collections in the U.K. 

So that’s it for now, I’m battling very slow internet and an iPad so perhaps more later in the month.

News for June 2017

As you may know from last month’s news, I was in Latvia at the end of May and start of June for the mitten knitting workshop organised by Senaklets,

http://www.senaklets.lv/eng.php

the folk costume and textile centre in Riga.

It was a packed programme including several workshops with glove and mitten experts, visits to museums and cultural centres, and a tour of the city where we were based for most of the trip, Leipaja, Latvia’s third city.

Here are some pictures from that visit. There are more in the Ravelry group ‘Knit like a Latvian’.

The mitten kits at Hobbywool in Riga

Similar colours to the pair I am knitting at the moment, above

A fine pair showing the ‘simple’ thumb construction 

A wonderful way of displaying mittens in this circle 

These are worn at funerals, hence the black.

Once back home from that I caught up with some machine knitting that I’ve had on the go for over a year, a jumper for Gordon, my partner. Since I try not to buy new yarn, this had to be made from what I had in my stash. I’d used the better colours in a previous jumper, so this one was tricky to design. I used the really small bits in the sleeves and then moved on to quite large amounts of red and black, left over from a Dennis the Menace jumper for a grandson some while ago. This is the result:


It’s all machine washable, very important I think.

The weekend of talks and workshops planned for March and postponed from then, took place over the weekend of 17th and 18th June. There was a heatwave in the UK then, so it was hard to even think about gloves of any sort, let alone woolly ones!

Here I am at the Knitting & Crochet Guild London branch meeting, the host for the talk, with the vintage Sanquhar and Yorkshire Dales gloves from the collection that I took to show.

On the Sunday I gave a workshop at Anna Feldman’s shop, Wild and Woollyhttp://www.wildandwoollyshop.co.uk/ 

huge thanks to the participants for making it a very enjoyable occasion. Here’s the hands with what was produced: by the way, the aim was to produce a sample with the techniques needed to knit gloves.

On the glove knitting front I am working on 2 pairs for very old friends. The first pair has a musical and Yorkshire theme, as befits the potential owner, a musician with family roots in Halifax. He chose the vintage colours as seen in a pair of Sanquhar gloves, yellow and brown. There’s crochets and quavers round the wrists and treble and bass clef son the palms. The Yorkshire tree of life pattern goes up the back of the hand and fingers.

Here’s both hands, photographed on a marble table in a very cold wet Brittany, where Gordon and I are staying with our friend Francoise. Good knitting weather! A bientot!

News round up for May 2017

Someone asked me if I have a newsletter and I thought no I don’t but perhaps I could try having one. At least that way I might post more regularly.

So, I had an article published in Vogue Knitting, about Sanquhar gloves. I felt extremely honoured to be invited to do this and very much enjoyed doing it, especially going to visit Sanquhar again, staying at the Blackaddie and meeting fellow glove knitter, May McCormick.

Here’s the cover and the first page of the piece:

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I’ve restarted knitting gloves for friends and so I’ve been sampling and designing for my friends Nick and Jenny.  Nick is a musician and he chose the vintage Sanquhar colours of brown and yellow. These are the cuffs so far:

I have also opened a glove knitting Instagram account where you can find me as Angharadt. The pics are the same as what’s here though.

My work got retuned from the Make exhibition at Ruthin Craft Centre after a lot of kerfuffle with the post office or Royal Mail. It turned out they were just trying to be helpful but t seemed as though the parcel had gone astray for a few hours.

Finally, I write this from Latvia where I am attending a mitten knitting retreat. It is the last evening of a packed week in which we have seen other places than Riga, being based inThe southern city of Liepaja. We have seen more mittens than I would have thought possible and met more knitters ditto. I have tried techniques I’ve not even heard of and been to places I didn’t know existed. I’ll leave you with a picture of the Russian Orthodox cathedral here, the nearest I’m likely to get to the Kremlin.

Gloves for John Alexander Skelton

I’ve been busy this year but a lot of what I’ve been up to has had to be kept under wraps. I was contacted by John Alexander Skelton, a fashion designer based in Sarabande Studios, London, to work with him to make two pairs of gloves based on traditional glove designs and his ideas for his collection launched on March 17th.

The name of the collection is RADICAL NORTH and these words are knitted in to the cuff of one pair.

The second pair has the date of the Peterloo Massacre, 1819, knitted into the gauntlet and a heart on the hand, to be worn on the back of the hand or on the palm.

They are knitted in Jamieson’s double knitting Shetland wool in black and natural white. I was helped in the knitting by my daughter which meant that it was not too much of a scramble  to get them to John by his deadline.

She was able to go to the show at Sarabande Studios which sounded wonderful. The models, who were street cast – that means they were found in cafes and so on, rather than from a model agency. There was no music and the men read from Shelley’s poem ‘The Masque of Anarchy’ as they walked on stage. The last person was a wearing a head dress made from sheeps’ skulls with two candles burning in it.

Here are the gloves – they are big, 12 inches or 30 cms in length.

There are more on John’s Instagram page:

The fringes are a feature found on a very old pair in the Wordsworth Museum, Grasmere

  And here are the pictures from the show:

 

 

I am part of an afternoon of talks

I’ll be at Ruthin Craft Centre tomorrow afternoon as part of their afternoon looking at ‘The Nature of Craft’. Also speaking are Edmond Byrne, glass and Sebastian Cox, furniture.

This is the link to the Ruthin web site which includes an image of my gloves:

http://www.canolfangrefftrhuthun.org.uk/be-sy-mlaen/oriel-1-2-3/ (in Welsh)

http://ruthincraftcentre.org.uk/whats-on/gallery-1-2-3/ (in English)

The previous talk I was planning, in London a fortnight ago, was cancelled, or actually, postponed. It will be rescheduled for June I hope.